The day before leaving to Nashville, Ana and I both agreed that we needed a good dose of “bliss” in our lives. After an incredibly busy few months, we were ready to catch up with friends, be inspired, learn from peers … and dance! We were also very excited about our Community Leader roles and were looking forward to meeting and greeting all the new Blissdom attendees. Mission(s) accomplished.
We started our Southern adventure with friends and an amazing dinner at City House. Talk about setting the right tone – the evening was pretty close to perfection. The next few days included a variety of sessions packed with rich content, including Business, Life Development, Photography and Writing. If you follow us on Twitter, Ana and I did our best to keep you in the loop. However, we may have failed you on the keynotes. Babble founder Rufus Griscom, SVP of Women and Family for the Disney Interactive Media Group Brooke Chaffin and author Jon Acuff kept us clinging to their every word. And Her Bad Mother Catherine Connors tore the house down with her powerful closing filled with words of encouragement and empowerment. How’s this video for her opening?
The Bliss Chicks Allison Worthington, Paula Bruno and Barbara Jones also made sure their guests were entertained with performances by Rascal Flatts, Joe Jonas and Chris Mann. It was a great time! You can see more of our blissful trip to Nashville on our Facebook page. Looking forward to Blissdom 2013.
This year I made the commitment to make an effort to explore beyond the much-loved boundaries of my Latina blogging world and attend conferences where it just didn’t matter if I didn’t know anyone. Not only that, I submitted to speak at panels at more than one conference having really no clue what I was getting myself into, but knowing I just had to take a plunge into the unknown if I wanted to grow.
The first result of my leap? In January of 2011 I spoke as part of an incredible panel at the Blissdom conference in Nashville, TN. Not only was I in awe our session topic had been approved, but that one of the first blogger I was reading even before I became a bloggers, Tsh from Simple Mom, was to be the moderator. It felt like I had come full circle and that marked the beginning of an amazing year of growth and accomplishments I once only dreamed of.
So, Blissdom truly holds a special place in my heart, as do its fabulous, glittery and sparkly co-founders Barbra Jones and Alli Worthington. Their energy imbues the whole conference with an air of sisterhood that knows no color, race or religion. This Latina, one of only a handful in the place, felt completely welcomed and embraced by all the women I met, most of them for the first time and who now are part of my network.
By the way, Blissdom was also the first conference mi amiga Carrie Weir of Tiki Tiki Blog went to back in 2009 and inspired her to write a post in her Bilingual in the Boonies blog titled “Looking for all the Latina Bloggers.” That’s the day her and I and many others connected. Check out the post. It’s Latina blogger history in the making!
Now I want to give TWO of you the chance to experience Blissdom ’12 from February 23-25 in Nashville, along with all of its fabulousness, courtesy of its organizers.
Latina Bloggers Connect will also include an additional prize of $250 for each blogger to supplement your trip. That’s how badly we want you to go! (P.S.: Rachel will be there as the Community Leader for the Arts & Design niche and I will be a Community Leader for the Parenting niche. ¡Vamos!)
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winners: Tiaras & Tantrums and Shopping for Savings. See you at BlissDom!
Easy, peasy. To enter to win one BlissDom conference pass (valued at $199), plus a $250 stipend from LBC you can do either of the two below:
1. Write a blog post (in English, Spanish or Spanglish) sharing how you find your Bliss and how you inspire, or hope to inspire, Bliss in others. In order to qualify, you must include a mention of Blissdom ’12 with the following link in-text: http://bit.ly/Blissdom_LBC
Leave a link to your post in the comments section below and you will receive FIVE entries.
2. Visit the Blissdom ’12 site and tell us in a comment below which Session and which Speaker you are looking forward to and you will receive ONE entry.
For additional entries you can tweet about this contest using the #BlissDom tag and @LBConnect and link to this post: http://su.pr/288LBR
Example: I want to go to #BlissDom 2012 & just entered the @LBConnect giveaway here:http://su.pr/288LBR
Only one tweet per day will count for an additional entry. Just make sure you add a link to each tweet on another comment in this post. One comment per tweet to make it easy to count, please.
Contest closes at midnight PST on Friday, Jan. 6th, 2012. Travel and accommodations not included.
Two winners will be chosen using random.org and will be notified via email.
You must be 18 and older to participate
You must be a blogger to participate
Travel, lodging, transportation, incidentals, etc not included. Only the full conference pass, plus a $250 stipend paid via PayPal
Winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response we will select another winner.
Katie Kimball, Tsh Oxenreider, Ana L. Flores and Carrie F. Weir
Last week, I was fortunate enough to be part of the Collaboration and Curation panel at the BlissDom Conference in Nashville. Carrie, from Tiki Tiki Blog, and I had submitted a proposal to speak about our experience creating sites that rely heavily on collaboration and curation. We were thrilled when we found out we had made the coveted cut, and that we would be joined by Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship and our panel would be presented by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Living Media and Simple Mom fame. I had been a long-time follower of Simple Mom and always in awe of the empire she had almost single-handedly built. It was definitely an honor to share this Blissdom moment with her.
I´ve got to say that we really did prepare for this panel because we wanted to make sure that people learned and felt they were taking away information they could put to use as soon as needed. Tsh put together some great slides that you can find at this link: http://www.simplelivingmedia.com/blissdom11/
I don´t want this info to just in the ears and notepads of those that made it to our panel. So, I´m sharing here with you the outline I prepared for my part of the presentation with some key takeaways on how to Create, Coordinate and Maintain a Collaborative Blog. I use my other blog—SpanglishBaby—as a case study and reveal why we have collaborators and how we do it.
SpanglishBaby–a community for parents raising bilingual and bicultural children–was always envisioned as a collaborative blog–a collective of different voices, opinions and experiences on the same topic(s). It is two of us running the blog—Roxana A. Soto and myself–, plus five regular contributors, nine Experts rotating once per week, and frequent guest bloggers.
Roxana, with her strong journalism and investigative background, manages the editorial content, calendar and coordinating with collaborators. I manage marketing, social media, alliances and promotion. We both collaborate in writing posts and coming up with editorial topics.
Pros of a collaborative blog:
1. Especially when you have a very niche blog, having more than one voice allows you to cover a wider range of topics and points of views. This opens the door to more readers where each can find a voice that they identify with.
Ex: There are many methods to raise a bilingual child, as well as many family situations (single mom, don´t know the language but want their child to, one parent speaks the majority language and the other the minority one, etc,) each of our 5 contributors, plus us, represent one or more of these methods/cases. Our collective experiences represent our audience
2. The writing workload is less demanding—helps to avoid writer burnout–and you become an editor/coordinator of your content. Allows you to carefully think and prepare your articles if you only need to write 1 or 2 per week, but your blog publishes 5 times per week. Also gives you time to create alliances, promote your blog and grow it as a busines
3. You become an authority in your field because you are bringing talent into your blog and you provide a space for guest bloggers to reach out to your audience.
4. You create a network of people that support, share and promote your brand and message.
Cons of a collaborative blog:
1. If you pay your regular contributors, as we do, then there is a monthly cost involved. You need to know you can cover this
2. You have to be organized and maintain a monthly editorial calendar so that communication within the team is clear and organized.
3. If you don´t pay, you cannot, or should not, own the content. If you pay, you do.
4. You must always have a backup plan in case a regular contributor can´t keep up or fails to deliver on time.
Differences between a regular contributor and a guest blogger:
1. A regular contributor is someone who has agreed, in writing through email and/or a formal agreement, to write an article for your blog on a regular basis. It is best if they have a set date when they are expected to turn it in. Ex: Every second Tuesday of the month, every Monday, etc.
2. It can be paid or unpaid.
3. A guest blogger is someone who has offered, or you have requested, to write a post on a specific subject relevant to your blog´s topic. This is unpaid and the content usually belongs to the guest blogger, unless you agree otherwise.
4. It should be an original post for your blog, or one they published a while back and can be slightly edited so it is not an identical copy (An SEO no-no!)
How to find contributors?
1. Put together a clear call-to-action for regular contributors: SETS THE BAR TO WHAT YOU ARE AFTER
2. Plan ahead what your needs are and what you can offer
Payment? How much? Anywhere from $5–$25 for an article is a standard range to keep in mind for personal blogs. If you have an amazing amount of traffic, and your blog can lead to great positioning and authority for the contributor, then you might not need to pay. In any case, it has to feel like a win-win for both parties.
We chose to pay because we were growing, saw it as an investment, want to own the rights, and wanted a firm commitment from the contributors.
3. Publish a post clearly outlining what type of contributors you are looking for:
knowledge/expertise in a topic?
they must have their own blog?
topics they should be able to cover
frequency of contribution (weekly, monthly, etc)
minimum length of words
any promotion expectations (highly unlikely)
4. Be specific about what you offer in return:
Compensation, promotion or both?
Byline with links to their blog(s)
Bio inclusion on About or Contributors page
Additional opportunities to receive products for review
5. Request a sample post in the topic(s) you are interested in. Set a firm date to receive submissions by and the date you will announce the new contributors. Adds a sense of healthy competition and seriousness to your request. This also weeds out anyone who is not authentically interested in being a contributor.
6. Draft an agreement outlining what your expectations are and what you will commit to. Both parties sign it. I just discovered this nifty tool, EchoSign, to make electronic signatures super easy.
Please let me know if this information was useful to you and if you have any questions I can help you with. The blogosphere is meant for collaboration. If one grows, we all grow.